Spencer Hospital Surgery Center Adds Orthopedic Robotics to Technology Offerings

posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 in General

This fall Spencer Hospital Surgery Center added the Mako robotics system to its high-tech surgery center. The orthopedic robotic technology is an addition to the robotic capabilities the hospital has offered for general and gynecological surgeries since 2015, and is part of a multi-million dollar upgrade to the surgery center.

The Mako system is being used by four orthopedic surgeons with Northwest Iowa Surgeons of Spencer Hospital, assisting them with total hip and knee replacement and partial knee replacement procedures. Through CT-based 3D modeling of a patient’s bone anatomy, surgeons can use the Mako system to create a personalized surgical plan. 

“The software allows us to preoperatively perform the surgery without ever making an incision,” explained Dr. Andrew Pick. “We are able to fit the knee or hip to the patient’s personal anatomy prior to the surgery.”

Dr. Jason Hough explained that in addition to the preoperative planning the Mako software provides, during surgery the program confirms anatomy to determine in real time if any adjustments are required. Then, the surgeon uses the robotic arm to aid in the precision of surgical cuts and implant alignment. 

Dr. Michael Dirkx, who joined the Spencer orthopedic team in August, trained on the Mako system during his surgical residency. “It allows for a more balanced, personalized knee every case by providing us freedom to perform individual bone cuts that traditional knee replacements don’t allow,” Dr. Dirkx explained. “The preoperative planning allows us to see any potential pitfalls before surgery and how we can avoid them.”

Dr. Chris Rierson also has experience using the Mako system. “For me, it is an invaluable tool in my practice,” he said. “We can all do manual total knees and hips very well, but for me this tool adds significantly to the experience.”

Hospital president Bill Bumgarner shared that since the mid-1970s, orthopedic surgeons serving the region have been performing joint replacement procedures at Spencer Hospital, serving thousands of people over the years.

“Spencer Hospital’s surgery center is an active facility, typically averaging over 500 procedures in a variety of surgical specialties each month. Our highly skilled surgeons and professional staff touch many lives through their commitment to our patients,” Bumgarner stated. “Spencer Hospital strives to provide surgeons and our hospital team with the state-of-the-art technology and facilities they need   to offer the very best in surgical care each day.”

He added, “The Mako system, along with a number of other enhancements currently planned for the surgery center next year, are an investment towards continuing to meet those goals. For this multi-million dollar surgery center project, the hospital received a generous grant of $500,000 from the Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation. The foundation funds clearly represent the support of our community, yet again, to help achieve healthcare excellence at Spencer Hospital.”